Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of Make Life Sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.
I usually make a "fake" strudel by using puff pastry or phyllo as the dough so this months challenge was going to be fun trying to stretch the real strudel dough. Believe it or not it was very easy to do and it came out quite good. Give this a try you will be surprised just how much fun it is.


From “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

2 Tablespoons Myers Rum
3 Tablespoons Golden Raisins
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Sugar
4 Ounces Unsalted Butter (melted & divided)
1 1/2 Cups Fresh Bread Crumbs
Strudel Dough (recipe below)
1/2 Cup Walnuts (coarsely chopped)
2 pounds Granny Smith Apples (peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Melt 1 1/2 Ounces of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook while stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 1 1/2 Ounces of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.


From “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet wide and 3 feet long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Tips- Ingredients are cheap so the daring bakers recommend making a double batch of the dough, that way you can practice the pulling and stretching of the dough with the first batch and if it doesn't come out like it should you can use the second batch to give it another try. The tablecloth can be cotton or polyster. Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, and wear short-sleeves;- To make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;- Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.

Monday, May 25, 2009


2 Cups Blueberries
2 Cups Raspberries
2 Cups Blackberries
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Ounce Lemon Juice
3/4 Ounce Cornstarch
4 Ounces Sugar or to taste (depending on the sweetness of the berries)

Mix the berries together in a bowl. In another bowl mix the salt, lemon juice, cornstarch, and sugar together. Pour over the berries and allow to macerate 1 hour.

Adapted from "Pie & Pastry Bible"
Rose Levy Beranbaum
4 Ounces Frozen Butter (cut into 1/2" pieces)
6 1/2 Ounces Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/8 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
3 Ounces Cold Cream Cheese (cut into 1" pieces)
3/4 Ounce Ice Water
1/2 Ounce Cider Vinegar

Place the flour, baking powder, salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine ingredients. Add the cream cheese and pulse to combine. Add the frozen butter and pulse until the butter is the size of large peas. Combine the ice water and cider vinegar and add it to the above mixture pulsing to combine. Remove the dough from the processor, shape it into a disk and wrap in in plastic. Refrigerate it at least 1 hour.

To make the galette:
Roll out the dough into a 14" circle. Brush the edges of the dough with egg wash. Place the berry mixture into the center of the dough. Fold the galette dough up by pleating it all around the outside of the berries. Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with crystal or granulated sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees until the dough is medium brown and the berries have released their juices and thickened up. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.

For serving: Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into wedges.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


There are graduates everywhere these days and 20 lucky ones received these on Prom Night. A client hired me to come up with a graduation dessert for her son and 19 of his friends. They had a dinner at her home before going to prom. She told me they started off by eating the fondant "tassel". Love it!!
The "graduation cap" was made of chocolate cake, raspberry jam, ganache, chocolate buttercream and chocolate mousse.
The school colors are red and gold so I held the gold fondant tassel on to the chocolate brim with a little red royal icing.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Simple but elegant is how I would describe this wedding cake. The coral roses were lovely against the cream fondant. The only frustrating part of this set up was that the rented table was wobbly and not level. We tried to level it but it just became more wobbly. The venue could not supply another table so I had to leave it as is. The cake itself was very heavy so unless someone ran in to the table hard I am sure it stayed in tact.
The layers were 15", 13", 11", 9" round. The flavor was chocolate cake, ganache, chocolate buttercream and chocolate mousse.

UPDATE: They loved it. Here is the testimonial:

"Just wanted you to know EVERYONE said they had NEVER had a wedding cake this GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! much wanted you to know how much everyone Loved it and I want you to know there was only a handful of peanut brittle left..............I hope all is well with you ............and your haircut looked fab!!!!!!!!!!!!!xoxoLloydette"

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


As a professional pastry chef we sometimes want to showcase items that we make on a display piece. There is hardly enough time because of all the responsibilities we have but when its possible I like to make something fun like you see here. This was part of my Mother's Day display last year. I love making handmade candies and truffles and wanted to show them off on this special display. The base was made by pouring tempered chocolate onto large bubble wrap and they were the perfect indentations for the candies to sit in.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


This dessert was made for a client's dinner party at her home. It was a raspberry bavarian cream layered between chocolate cake and wrapped with a chocolate band.
A light but intense in flavor dessert, perfect after a heavy meal.
The picture here is of an extra dessert I put on a paper plate for the caterer to taste. Yummy!!

15 ½ Ounces Granulated Sugar
9 Ounces All Purpose Flour
3 ¾ Ounces Cocoa Powder (sift after measuring)
1 ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda1
½ Teaspoon Salt
2 Large Eggs (room temperature)
1 Cup Whole Milk
½ Cup Canola Oil
2 ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
7 Liquid Ounces Boiling Water

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and line with parchment 2 - 1/2 sheet pans.
2. This should be done by hand. No mixer necessary.
3. Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
4. Place all wet ingredients except water into another bowl and mix together.
5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
6. Boil water in microwave, add and stir to combine.
7. Pour into prepared pans.
8. Bake 30 to 40 minutes.

1 Cups Milk
5 Ounces Sugar
5 Egg Yolks
4 Gelatin Sheets
1 Cups Raspberry Puree
12 Ounces Heavy Cream

1. Soften Gelatin in ice water. Set aside.
2. Sprinkle a little of the sugar into the bottom of a saucepan and pour the milk over it. Bring to a boil.
3. Mix the remaining sugar into the yolks and temper the yolks and milk.
4. Cook the mixture to 180 degrees. Remove from heat and strain.
5. Add the gelatin and stir to melt it.
6. Add the raspberry puree and stir over an ice bath until cool to the touch but not set.
7. Whip the cream to soft peak and incorporate it into the raspberry mixture.

To assemble the desserts:
Line PVC pipes, cut to the desired size, with acetate. Cut out a cake round and place it in the pvc. Pipe the raspberry bavarian cream on top of the cake, place another cake round over the cream then pipe the cream all the way to the top and level off. Freeze.
Unmold the desserts, temper semi sweet chocolate, spread it over a transfer sheet that has been cut to size and wrap it around the frozen dessert. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Peel off the plastic and plate up.